Ruta de Las Flores – Adventures in El Salvador

The Ruta de Las Flores is supposedly the number one tourist attraction in El Salvador’s burgeoning tourist scene.  That being said, we still hardly saw any other foreigners traveling it!  The route includes three small towns up in the coffee-growing hills of western El Salvador.  Good food, quaint markets, and beautiful scenery were the highlights.  The lowlight: unfortunately it rained for a couple hours every day!  But what can you do?  It is the rainy season.

We started in Juayúa, home to a famous weekend food fair.  It was the same vibe as a carnival or state fair back home, except with different delicacies and lower prices of course!

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Booths selling delicious treats
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Steak, sausage, grilled potatoes, rice, cheesy tortillas, salsa, and chimichurri!

The next day we continued a few kilometers down the road to Apaneca, the smallest town on the route.  We didn’t find out until we got there that our hostel was located about 5km uphill from where the bus dropped us off, in the smaller village of Laguna Verde.  Lucky for us, hitchhiking is easy in the country and we caught a ride in a pickup truck bed most of the way up the hill.  We bought some great coffee in Apaneca and hiked to the small but pretty Laguna Verde.

ruta de las flores
Look at all that fog!

Our last stop, Concepción de Ataco, was our favorite.  It was a bigger town with gorgeous blue and white churches, tons of public murals, and lots of awesome craft stores.  If you stay anywhere for more than one night, we would recommend it be here!

ruta de las flores
Ataco street murals

ruta de las flores

ruta de las flores
Our daily dose of ice cream from La Neveria, which we highly recommend
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Can you see me?

Travel in El Salvador during the rainy season is a little tricky, but once you get the pattern down you can work around it.  It usually rains in the early afternoon for a couple hours and you just have to wait it out.  On the Ruta de Las Flores, the towns are so close that you can easily arrive at your next stop and stash your stuff before the downpour.

If you enjoy this post about El Salvador’s Ruta de las Flores the check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Colombian Coffee Farms – The Economics and Production

You drink it everyday, but what do you really know about it? After spending time with the Colombian coffee farms, I wanted to take a second to write about coffee. San Agustin is in Huila, the largest coffee producing region in Colombia.  The farmers sell their coffee for a very small amount, leaving most of the profits to giant multinational cooperations.  Buying fair trade coffee is the best way that you can help the farms, along with avoiding big name companies like S***bucks.

colombian coffee farms

Coffee comes from a short tree, you might called it a bush. A mature plant is about as tall as me and has green leaves and berries on the limbs. Once the berries are ripe they turn red and are picked. These red berries are put through a machine that separates the red and sweet outside from the seed in the middle. This seed in the middle is washed several times then spread out to dry for 4 days in a greenhouse-like structure. After the coffee is dried it is put into huge sacks and sold to the local coffee buying conglomerate. In Colombia, the buyer ships all the coffee to either Buenaventura on the Pacific coast, or to Cartagena on the Atlantic coast. From each of these seaports all the coffee then goes to the west and east coasts of the United States.

The most interesting thing we learned about Colombian coffee farms was how little the farmers actually make for the coffee they grow.  Lets say you go to Starbucks and get a $1.50 for an 8 oz coffee.  How about we say that for every pound of coffee beans Starbucks can make 30 cups .  That means Starbucks sells coffee for $45 per pound.  The Colombian coffee farmer sells his unroasted beans for about $40 for a 120 pound sack.  So with these numbers the farmer makes approximately 30 cents per pound, or less than 1% of the S***bucks price.

This doesn’t really make much sense to us.  We definitely want to investigate this issue further, and delve into how the fair trade certification process works, and how much more fair trade farmers make.

Enjoy this post about Colombian coffee farms? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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